School - A Sanctuary?

We’ve all heard it said that teachers have (or should have) a life outside of school. But have you ever thought about your students and their ‘life’ outside of school? Your students DO have a life, family, friends, relationships, experiences – and all this is outside of the classroom.

I was reading the blog of Doug Thomas, principal of Claremont College in Sydney, Australia. He quoted the famous psychologist and educational guru, Howard Gardner, who said, “Sadly, for many children, school is a sanctuary away from a dysfunctional home.” This phrase stood out to me. As teachers, we mistakenly assume that students prefer to be at home and that the school bell at the end of the day is music to their ears. This is not always true.

It would serve us well to remember these words of Howard Gardner each time we enter our classroom. Every student you lock eyes with has a life and a family completely separate to school. And for many students, this ‘life’ lacks the lustre and shine we assume it to have.

This week’s assignment:

Take an extra moment this week to remember that you may be the only encouragement a student receives. You may be the only person who believes in that student. You may be the only person who lends a listening ear. Build confidence in your students, in the ‘sanctuary of the school environment’ so that they may take that confidence with them wherever they go.

Enjoy the journey,

And more importantly,

Enjoy the moments.